Pastor's Note - November 10
What made Paul effective in his ministry? The short and clear and obvious answer is God’s grace. The grace and power of God are the only sufficient means to bring to life those who had been dead in sins. It is what we all need to live godly lives, and encourage others to do the same – God’s grace. I think we can also say that God’s grace motivated Paul’s ministry. He was not only empowered by grace, but motivated by it. Paul speaks of the fact that he was “untimely born” – the last and least of the apostles – a former persecutor of the church. Paul repeatedly acknowledges his great sinfulness. He also knows he has dedicated his whole life to the cause of the Lord. And those two things are related. A knowledge of great forgiveness fueled great mission. Paul so fully dedicated his life because of his clear calling, and because of his clear recognition that he was so far away from God, and God’s grace had reached incredibly far to reach him. That same grace should also fuel us. If we acknowledge how great our sinfulness, how great God’s holiness, and therefore how great His grace that bridges that gap, then we would also be moved to greatly devote our lives to Him. Not that we revel in false humility or constant self-condemnation. Rather, Paul gives an example in rejoicing in God’s mercy and goodness, and then being motivated by that to follow the Lord no matter where He calls. Then, we (and I believe like Paul) are further motivated by the fact that God keeps using us and doing good things in us and through us! God’s grace extends beyond salvation all the way into sanctification and mission. Paul knew he had done incredible harm to the church. Yet God loved him. Then God used Him. We have done many sinful things. Yet God loves us. And He keeps using us to do good things, and produce good in us, as we abide in His grace.